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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | ROCKTALK

Debut Album Places Sideman at Center Stage

Guitarist Goose Ravel, who has backed up big-name performers, plays tunes from his solo release Sunday in Ventura.

August 08, 1996|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Another of those hard-working studio musicians with a more extensive resume than a fan club is working on a side project. This time Goose Ravel (real name Danny Timms) on Sunday will perform songs from his debut solo album, "Chase That Feelin' ," at yet another jangle factory, the Ash Street Coffee House in Ventura.

The Glendale-based Ravel is one of the industry's premiere sidemen, having twanged that guitar for the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Michael McDonald, Peter Case, Edie Brickell, Los Lobos, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Highwaymen and, for many years, Kris Kristofferson. Once upon a time, Ravel had a shot at becoming one of the youngest Bruins.

"I got a classical piano scholarship to UCLA when I was 11 years old, but I didn't go because it would've interfered with my Little League baseball," said Ravel during a recent phone chat. "I appreciate classical music a lot more now than I did then."

Between touring with famous country and rock stars and doing studio work, Ravel found time for his solo album. Funded by Ted Kruger, a developer pal, Reel Good Records was formed with the intention of producing music by the sidemen whose work puts others in the foreground.

"It's kind of a cross-over album with a lot of different influences," Ravel said of his new release. "It's in the R & B area, but there's country influences, too. I'm just grateful to be able to do what I love."

Ravel's bio contains more back-slapping than a month of "Big Spin" episodes, with glowing testimonials by some mighty famous fellas--Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kristofferson--who use words such as "terrific," "talented" and "deserved opportunity."

"I love those guys--I toured with them as the Highwaymen, and I also do solo stuff with Kris Kristofferson," said Ravel. "I've been with him for 10 years, and we tour a few times a year, but right now, he's doing movies. In '91, I was on the road for 10 months, but I'm usually on the road about five months a year. I want to have a little bit of a life."

When he is not playing, his life seems to be about writing songs. In fact, Ravel wrote or co-wrote 10 of the 11 songs on his album, and Kristofferson wrote the other one. The guitarist doesn't seem to mind if he's in the studio or on the road, so long as he's playing somewhere.

"There's no immediate feedback from an audience in the studio, and playing live is not as tedious as being in the studio, but both have their rewards," he said. "You go to the studio when someone has a song they want to do and you do your best to make their musical dream come true."

Ravel's immediate dream is to do a cool set at the Ash Street Coffee House, located at the corner of Ash and Main streets in Ventura. Call them at 643-7817 to find out more about this free 6 p.m. show.

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They Come, They Go: Roxanne's Coffee and More in Simi Valley and Johnny Dingo's in Ventura no longer have live music--just food, and plenty of it. Shea Burke of Dingo's says, however, there may be music coming from the patio in the near future.

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Further Celebration: Jerry Garcia throws a damn fine birthday party for a Dead guy. Thursday at the Further Festival at the Ventura Raceway, several of the Dead who are still alive, plus kindred musical spirits in Los Lobos, Hot Tuna, John Wesley Harding and Bruce Hornsby, made yet another generation of Deadheads dance funny and continuously.

There were party balloons and party hats in honor of Garcia, who would have been 54. Not only do the Dead never die, except for Garcia, they aren't even sick. And they seem to be breeding, too, judging by the large percentage of teenage Deadheads at the Further Fest.

The tickets were 30 bucks, more than double the price of the first Dead show in Ventura in 1982. Tickets will be $10 for a Cubensis gig Friday night at the Ventura Theatre, which also happens to be the first anniversary of Garcia's death. Cubensis is a Grateful Dead tribute band, and a serious light show is scheduled for this "Jerry Garcia Memorial Grateful Groove" beginning at 8 p.m. To find out more about this show, call 648-1888.

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